13th September, 2019 by East Somerset Railway
This blog will give an insight into day to day life at the railway, a behind the scenes look at what our staff and volunteers are getting up to and a review of our events as they occur.
We are one of the few railways where you can access the workshops and get a good view of the restoration work that goes on here. Our locomotive workshop has a public viewing gallery which has just been refurbished and which will shortly have some new information panels on display. The workshop is manned by a bunch of extremely skilled and enthusiastic volunteers - from those long past retirement who still love the opportunity to work on engines - to youngsters who are just starting to learn the ropes.
Come and meet them!
We are still buzzing after our fabulous Way We Were weekend - follow the link to our Facebook page to see loads of fantastic photos, like this one from Mike Jeffries.The Way We Were on Facebook
.............as Eric Morcombe would say. This original sign has ben donated to us by Graham Hills, a lifelong train enthusiast. It was dug up in two pieces from Wells Station. His friend, Jim Mears welded the sign together and after a bit of TLC from our volunteer, Derek, it now hangs in pride of place in the Whistlestop cafe. Thank-you Graham and Jim!
Despite the threat of gale force winds and heavy showers, we had a great day with Catboy and Romeo on Saturday. The rain held off for long enough for the stoytelling sessions on the grass, and we had an undercover punch and Judy show and face painter.
As I write, it is absolutely chucking it down. However - we are still looking forward to a great day tomorrow with P J Masks - by which time the weather may be a little better! Plenty for the youngsters to do if not - lots of train rides in the warm and dry as well as an activity tent. Sadly no bouncy castles though. Too much risk of them taking off!
The real excitement this week has been the launch of the new Boden Harry Potter collection of children's clothes. Location for the photo shoot was - guess where!!! Check it out on the link below.Boden at the ESR
As those of you who have visited us will already know, we have a great shop here at the ESR. All profits from your purchases go towards preserving and improving our railway so that's a really good reason for treating yourself - or someone else.
We have a great range of mostly railway related and local products - the latest edition to the range being a selection of liqueurs from Frome based Friary Vintners. So if you fancy the sound of salted caramel vodka or raspberry gin - come and see us. We also have a great range of local ciders and beers for those of you wanting something a bit longer.
OK - ad break over. We've had another busy week here with Thursday running as well as Wednesday. Pretty busy on both days - and, I have to say, plenty of grandparents out with their grandchildren. Preparartions are still steaming ahead for our Way We Were event - and also our PJ Masks character visit next Saturday. Can't wait to meet Catboy and Romeo!
Phew. It has certainly turned into a hot one, this week! It's been another busy one for us. We had a display stand at the Steam and Country Fair at Langport over the weekend. This is a great fair and made us some valuable contacts as well as reminding people what we offer as an attraction.
Tuesday saw our second special DMU day. Not tremendously busy but all the people that came were diesel fans and had a great day. And the guys from the The Mendip Traction & Rolling Stock Group certainly had fun running their recently refurbished L231 up and down our line. As well as the two lucky would-be drivers on their experience day.
The other exitement on Tuesday was the lifting of Goliath's bolier back onto the frame. For all the latest updates and photos of this fantastic restoration project, see the Workshp Blog.
The Ivatt was steaming yesterday - and again today on our first Thursday opening. Meanwhile we are busy making preparations for our Way We Were event over the Bank Holiday weekend. If you haven't seen our dedicated facebook page, check it out here.....The Way We Were
So - last Wednesday saw a visit from a group of 153 naturists, arranged as part of the Nudefest week. They came at 5pm after the general public had left - to save any blushes - and had train ride, visit to the signal box, engine shed and tea and cake in the cafe. We had some good feedback from them and they were a really nice bunch of people. It was possibly the most unusual event we have hosted - and we would certainly welcome them back. In case you were wondering , all the ESR staff and volunteers remained fully clothed.....
Wednesdays certainly seem to be the day to visit - yesterday we were very proud to spot Helen Worth amongst our passengers. I'm sure most of you will know her as Gail from Coronation Street. She enjoyed her day with us and I hope was mostly left to her own devices - but we could not resisit asking her if she would pose for a photo with Barney the Station Dog. She was lovely and very happy to do so. She also suggested a photo with our Station Master for the day, Kerry, who was absolutely delighted to be seen with her.
Today I'm posting an update from Gary Amos on the progress being made on our new Kitchen Coach......
Work has proceeded at a steady pace all year on our new kitchen coach and we are now in sight of putting it into service for the santa Specials and maybe even before that!
The interior renovation and conversion is substantially complete and CW volunteers Andy, Paul and Geoff have been busy inside painting assisted from the loco dept by Mike on kitchen fitting and plumbing and Mac on panelling etc . Richard from the CW dept has finished the exterior paintwork, lining and lettering. Owen from CTMS has also built the bar and made good job hiding the steam pipe in the disabled dining area. Dick has made up the seats and kitchen storage units with Mac completing a lot of crucial finishing touches and completing a myriad of “snagging “ tasks to ensure a top-quality finish. We now have the tables in place for wheelchair users too. Earlier in the year new electrical wiring and lighting was put in by contractors with Ken overseeing this.
Underneath the carriage, we have had a lot of overhaul work to do on the bogies which were originally on the CK coach and had some broken secondary suspension springs. The coach had to be jacked up to do this work and the bogie rolled out from underneath. New springs have been fitted at one end and seized hornblock guides have been freed up by Gary, Chris and Steve from the loco dept and Roger came in to assist us with this providing some special mini-jacks. Pete, Geoff and Andy from the CW dept have taken the opportunity to repaint the bogies and underframe. We are just getting ready to jack the coach up at the Shepton end to replace more broken springs and fully service the other bogie before it goes into service. This is the first time we have had to do a major service on ”commonwealth" bogies and although time consuming we have learnt a lot such that any future work can be completed in a lot less time.
Another busy week for us here at ESR. The summer flowers on the platform are looking great at the moment with thanks to the constant watering by Lynne, our volunteer. We are always trying to improve our facilities and this week has seen the addition of a new children's swing as well as the start of work on creating a new outside shelter .
We had a great crowd in for Wednesday, including a really fun bunch from Newland Hurst in Droitwich. They enjoyed a cream tea on the train then our fabulous Guard, Kerry, let them have a go at doing his job!Newland Hurst
On the hottest day of the year so far - and I mean really HOT!!! - we had our Family Day - Dinosaur and Unicorns. As you can see from the photo, our Driver and Fireman were well into the theme of the day. You will be pleased to know that all rubber headgear was removed before taking to the footplate!
Other than the staff and volunteers having a good time - our visitors of all ages enjoyed the day and many came in costume to claim their free icecream. A fair few dinosaur eggs were found hidden around the station as were various unicorns.
The 56 was in steam for the day and we had 2 lucky guys enjoying a footplate experience - at a slightly higher temperature than normal!
We had another fabulous school visit on Wednesday - this time teachers, pupils and some parents from Seend School. They had so got into the spirit of things for their evacuee themed visit. The costumes were great - I think a special mention should go to the adults who had made such a huge effort too - from Land Girls to Naval Officers. They took part in several themed activities as well as visiting our engine shed- with a train ride as the highlight of their day!
We had a great visit today from St John's School in Frome . They did a few activities, visited the signal box, rode on the minature railway and, of course, the steam train. Our great volunteer Guard, Nick, did a great session with them explaining some of the important aspects of the railway - from how a train works, to how to blow the whistle! They loved it !
For more details about schools visits, click on button below.
Another trip out for Lisa and I today - this time to Salisbury to attend a Dementia Friends workshop. We are both now trained in delivering Dementia Friends Information Sessions with a view to passing this on to the staff and volunteers as part of our aim to become recognised as a Dementia Friendly organisation.
For further information about Dementia Friends, click on button below:
Despite the rain and the strong gusts of wind (tricky for gazebos and tall display boards!), we made an appearance at Collet Park in Shepton Mallet on Saturday for the annual event. Our aim was to raise our profile with the lovely folk of Shepton Mallet and area - many of whom knew of us but had never visited. Derek, Lynne and I (with help from Barney the Station Dog) set up the stand at 7 am as instructed by the organisers, dodging the rain, and awaited the public entry at 10!
Plenty of coffee was drunk in the first couple of hours, I can tell you!
Lisa, our Education Officer, joined us at 11 am and between us all, we chatted to many potential new visitors, made contact with a few local groups, gave away plenty of leaflets and sold a fair few raffle tickets. We also attracted a couple of potential new volunteers to the railway - and hopefully, they will be joining us soon.
Meanwhile, back at Cranmore, trains were running as normal and we had a very well attended Sparkling Afternoon Tea.
We were hoping to attend the Midsummer Vintage Fair next Saturday - but it has unfortunately been cancelled. No doubt too much soft mud predicted for the stationary engines!
The W H Smith's Kiosk which has stood on our platform for sometime, originally came from Salisbury Station. Although used as a useful storage area for some of our volunteers (their equipment, that is, not the vollies themselves!) it was not really presented to it's best.
Thanks to Derek, it now looks the part once more. See the before and after pictures below.
After a successful Facebook plea, were were able to reinstate our phone receiver. Thank you Ian!
We are very proud of our platform phone box - a K4 which originally resided in Bristol city centre. It is one of only 50 produced between 1930 and 1935.
Check out this link for all the info on the K4.........
K4 TELEPHONE BOXES
Here are some photos and a video taken from a drone by Jerry Perkins, quoted below:
'This is a 3D point cloud model of the East Somerset Railway which we’ve created from the 300 plus photos that the drone took when it was buzzing around the site 150ft up. The scale model is created from millions of points. Which is why the model become see through the closer you get.
This is great for us in Architecture as every one of the points has an X,Y & Z coordinate so we can use the model to produce scale site plans, elevations and sections. As its to scale we can also measure the model within the computer in the same way that you’d measure a drawing with a rule'.
We were all very excited indeed to welcome the Gruffalo back to Cranmore! He had a great day hugging, waving and having his photo taken with loads of visitors, staff and volunteers. I have to say, I think the adults enjoyed meeting him more than the children!
Our first DMU day today - showing off the newly refurbished L231. We just love the mini First Class carriage behind the driver! Our next diesel only day will be on the 23rd of July.
The first of our character visits this year was the ever popular Peter Rabbit. He arrived around 10 o clock with his human companion, and made appearances on the platform all day much to the delight of the many visiting children. And, I have to say, adults too! We ran 6 trains throughout the day - both the engines were in service - and Peter waved them all off.
In between times. there was a traditional Punch and Judy show on the platform. The children still love this old fashioned entertainment - but I think it was the adults who really appreciated the slightly non pc humour and tongue in cheek comments from Mr Punch!
We were very pleased to welcome a few beautiful Rollers into our car park for the day - as their owners enjoyed a private tour of the engine sheds as well as driving one of the Sentinel Diesel engines.
Our first public steaming this year! The weather was kind to us and we had both engines (the 56 and the Ivatt) in steam. Children (and adults!) enjoyed the model railway which was running all over the weekend. My first footplate ride!
The year started really well for us - with a visit from Railtours' 'Somerset Strimmer'. The 10 coach diesel pulled into Cranmore on the afternoon of Saturday March 16th along with 500 or so passengers! Despite the fairly wet and blustery weather, the visit went well with most enjoying a steam train ride , refreshements in the cafe and making a fair few purchases in the shop.